Born Sinner by S.L. Jennings

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This book started out with a bang, that fizzled just a bit, and then picked up again about half-way through. It’s definitely not hard-core romance, but has the feel of a romance novel. Only there is so much more going on.

It begins with Eden, a broken, creepy girl who can tell people what to do. Literally. She tells someone to take a walk and they stroll in front of a bus. After that, you know she’s not going to be a simple character. The author gets right down to the story, no ambling beginning or unnecessary scenes. With a few riveting pages, she delves right into…something. I wasn’t sure what exactly, but either Eden is taken captive by angels or demons. It could have gone either way and, thankfully, I wasn’t kept in the dark for long.

Here’s where the beginning started to look like a typical formula romance novel: she’s abducted and while her captors are discussing whether or not to kill her, she’s mesmerized by one guy’s beauty and perfection. In the span of one paragraph, she is terrified but also envisions him ravishing her. That lost me a little and I rolled my eyes heavily, but then in storms L, an even more complex character with a ton of secrets that I was dying to find out. The first of which was, “What does L stand for?” The author made me wait for it, but it was better than anything I could have guessed.

The draw between L and Eden is palpable. I could feel it and at times it was frustrating and at others it was sweet. I can’t call it attraction, because to do so would be to do their relationship a disservice; it encompasses so much more than lust. It felt one-sided/mystery until almost the end, but that is in part because the story is told from Eden’s perspective. She’s lost and confused and has no idea who or what she is. For some reason, she immediately latches onto him. And while he’s cool, he certainly doesn’t push her away. I was certain that he loved her in some way, that is one of the criteria of being a romance, but he was a stereotypical alpha male denying his emotions for too long. It was a relief when the true L started to shine.

The book is about angels and demons, so some readers might find it a delicate topic. The author gives us a bit of her idea of heaven and hell. I admit, I was intruiged, especially since I couldn’t quite decide on who Eden really was and how she fit in with it all. The truth was a hard pill to swallow, because I’d grown rather fond of her, but was given away with still a huge chunk of story left. So, there’s hope. The first half was a little slow, but it was a finely-crafted setup for the second half. I devoured it in a day, desperate to know the truth about angels and demons, according to Jennings.

WARNING: Spoiler paragraph ahead that gives story detail without ruining the end. There is no way to write a review about this book without some spoilers. The entire premise is based on the fact that L and his six “siblings” are demons trying to find redemption. They hunt down what Eden calls “Lucifer’s sleeper cells” and eradicates them from the face of the earth before they can blow up buildings or go on a mass-murdering rampage. Eden is not just any sleeper cell, though, because she has been given the gift of controlling people with just a few words. That means she’s a big one that needs to be dealt with, since she could tell everyone to go home and slaughter their families and they would. The se7en, especially L, are desperate to save her and throughout their search they find out that she is meant to be Lucifer’s bride. Honestly, it is obvious from the beginning that it is going to be about the devil, but to what extent is left unclear til about sixty-percent in. They’re then told that it is inevitable and L is willing to die for her, so that means lots of drama.

Spoiler over. There are seven, obviously, which I found to be about three too many to keep track of. For the most part, the rest of the group fades into the background and are in a few scenes. They’d pop up and surprise me, because I had forgotten all about them. I’m not sure if they’re just filler, so that they can be seven, which is a biblical number, or if they will have more story later on. The bulk rests on Eden, L, Phenex, and Lily. And don’t forget Lucifer, who is a vital part of this story even though he had little face-time. The book is very well-written and kept me glued after a bit of a slump. The main characters are exceptional, especially L. It left me hanging and desperate for the next book. Sadly, it has not been published yet. So, you might want to put this on your shelf and hold off a little longer until the next one is around the corner. I’m glad that I read it, but now begins the agonizing wait.

One important aspect of the book that needs to be aired before the rating, is the fact that the book is extremely sexual. Not just romance book status, but over-the-top everything in this book revolves around sex. The angel catching a ride inside of Eden puts everyone in a sexual furor, which leads to a lot of tension. Later on some magic is called upon and the result, of course, is more horny. It’s even going on in heaven and the party that they go to is teeming with humping angels, demons, humans, and miscellaneous whatnot. It’s everywhere. Consider yourself warned or titillated, whichever you prefer. There are a few spots that are more erotica than romance.

Now to rate it:

  • Genre and general reading age: romance/erotica/supernatural. I’m a grown woman and this book made me blush. I would only suggest this for readers who are adults and not shy about what happens in the bedroom. Or in the case of this book, just about anywhere.
  • Level of sexuality: through the roof. If you don’t like reading about orgies, you might want to look the other way for a few pages. In general, it’s well written and considering just how graphic it is, it was surprisingly good. There was a lot of emotion to the actual sex scenes and none of the cheesy lines that seem to proliferate romance novels of all genres.
  • Was there graphic language? With all the sex how could there not be? But in comparison, it’s rather tame.
  • Did I cry? My eyes got a little misty at the end, but no tears.
  • Is this part of a series? Se7en Sinners. Book one is all there is so far. I’m hoping for a quick sequel and plan on stalking the author on social media for any clue as to when it will be coming.
  • Level of character development: The main characters were fantastic, strong emphasis on Eden and L. The ones who played sidekick were a little bit lacking, but so much of the story is focused on the couple, there isn’t much room for anyone else. Aside from Phenex and Lily, the other characters were more walk-on walk-off with varying levels of importance.
  • Did I laugh? I chuckled a few times. Eden has a way of turning something scary into something slightly funny.

This is a strong start to what will hopefully be an incredible series. It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, especially since it concerns religion. I am salivating for the next and I am thrilled to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars.

Available here on Amazon

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